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admin | frugal living tips and ideas | 22.12.2015
President Jimmy Carter tried to change the path of America's energy future with his 'Crisis of Confidence' speech, delivered 35 years ago Monday. It ran just over a half-hour, back in the day when such speeches were carried by all three of the commercial TV networks, in prime time, before tens of millions of viewers. Carter then read a laundry list of public grievances against the government, and against himself, including a concise summary of why America was entering a "moral and spiritual crisis." He said that America was losing faith in government, and in citizens' ability to participate in democracy. It's hard to watch or read the speech without viewing Carter as a gloomy, forthright prophet.
What he did do is make a firm acknowledgement that our energy supply controls our destiny, whether it's in the hands of petro-states, coal barons, or solar entrepreneurs. At the time of the speech and following the 1979 Energy Crisis, Carter's approval ratings bottomed out at around 25% – about where Nixon's were in the midst of Watergate, and nearly 20 points lower than Obama's current number. Months later, the Iranian hostage crisis unfolded, and the following year, Carter was crushed in his re-election bid by Ronald Reagan.
Jimmy Carter promised to lead on overhauling our energy regime if only Americans were willing to follow. The Daily Climate is an independent, foundation-funded news service covering energy, the environment and climate change. On July 15, 1979, Carter delivered his uncelebrated “malaise” speech, a word that never appears in the 17-minute address.
America’s confidence in Carter was as low as Carter’s confidence in the government he described—in words that could be repeated today: “What you see too often in Washington and elsewhere around the country is a system of government that seems incapable of action.
Carter delivered the address after 10 days of isolation at Camp David, where he consulted with advisers and what he described as 100 people from all walks of life. William Safire, the former Nixon speech-writer and New York Times columnist, wrote on July 19, four days after the speech: “Jimmy Carter accused the American people of being self-indulgent, materialistic and morally dispirited. The Chicago Sun-Times: “Sunday, night, Americans saw a more somber, yet stronger President Carter than they have seen before. The Los Angeles Herald-Examiner: “As we listened to his energy address we had the feeling we were listening to a President.
The Kansas City Star: “He told us what must be done, and now we must tell Congress and ourselves. The Washington Star: “Last evening’s remarkable address — a mixture of moods and themes and proposals — will give the country plenty to think and talk about.
The Buffalo Evening News: “The hard-nut core of this speech was not any of the talk about all the insights the president gleaned from every Tom, Dick and Harry last week. The Arizona Republic (Phoenix): “The specific proposals he made in last night’s address were not encouraging. It’s clear that the true problems of our Nation are much deeperпїЅdeeper than gasoline lines or energy shortages, deeper even than inflation or recession.
I invited to Camp David people from almost every segment of our societyпїЅbusiness and labor, teachers and preachers, Governors, mayors, and private citizens. Several of our discussions were on energy, and I have a notebook full of comments and advice. These 10 days confirmed my belief in the decency and the strength and the wisdom of the American people, but it also bore out some of my longstanding concerns about our Nation’s underlying problems. I know, of course, being President, that government actions and legislation can be very important. The erosion of our confidence in the future is threatening to destroy the social and the political fabric of America. The confidence that we have always had as a people is not simply some romantic dream or a proverb in a dusty book that we read just on the Fourth of July.
Our people are losing that faith, not only in government itself but in the ability as citizens to serve as the ultimate rulers and shapers of our democracy. In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities, and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. As you know, there is a growing disrespect for government and for churches and for schools, the news media, and other institutions.
We were sure that ours was a nation of the ballot, not the bullet, until the murders of John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. Looking for a way out of this crisis, our people have turned to the Federal Government and found it isolated from the mainstream of our Nation’s life. All the traditions of our past, all the lessons of our heritage, all the promises of our future point to another path, the path of common purpose and the restoration of American values. Energy will be the immediate test of our ability to unite this Nation, and it can also be the standard around which we rally. In little more than two decades we’ve gone from a position of energy independence to one in which almost half the oil we use comes from foreign countries, at prices that are going through the roof.
Point two: To ensure that we meet these targets, I will use my Presidential authority to set import quotas.
Just as a similar synthetic rubber corporation helped us win World War II, so will we mobilize American determination and ability to win the energy war. These efforts will cost money, a lot of money, and that is why Congress must enact the windfall profits tax without delay. Point five: To make absolutely certain that nothing stands in the way of achieving these goals, I will urge Congress to create an energy mobilization board which, like the War Production Board in World War II, will have the responsibility and authority to cut through the redtape, the delays, and the endless roadblocks to completing key energy projects. I ask Congress to give me authority for mandatory conservation and for standby gasoline rationing. Our Nation must be fair to the poorest among us, so we will increase aid to needy Americans to cope with rising energy prices.
So, the solution of our energy crisis can also help us to conquer the crisis of the spirit in our country. We can manage the short-term shortages more effectively and we will, but there are no short-term solutions to our long-range problems. Twelve hours from now I will speak again in Kansas City, to expand and to explain further our energy program. Jimmy Carter didn’t have to tend with such a treasonous ass h*** as Mitch McConnell and those who follow him. Recent Commentspaula on Authorities Find Doreen Marie O’Connor, Feared Suicidal, After SearchShrimpley Pibbles on Worse Than Trump: Gov.
On June 30, 1979, a weary Jimmy Carter was looking forward to a few days' vacation in Hawaii, as Air Force One sped him away from a grueling economic summit in Tokyo. That week, the energy crisis that Carter had been trying to avoid since taking office had finally erupted.
The president did come home, canceling his vacation and retreating to Camp David, where he started working on what would be his fifth major speech on energy. At the heart of the internal debate over the administration's future was a memo by Caddell, Carter's pollster and resident "deep thinker." "What was really disturbing to me," he remembered, "was for the first time, we actually got numbers where people no longer believed that the future of America was going to be as good as it was now. On the evening of July 15, 1979, millions of Americans tuned in to hear Jimmy Carter give the most important speech of his presidency.

But he also admonished them, "In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption.
Perhaps appreciating the president's astonishing frankness, the public rewarded him with higher approval ratings in the days that followed. Carter didn't help himself by clumsily conducting a shakeup of his government in the week following the speech. A little more than a year later, Ronald Reagan defeated Carter by offering Americans a vision that was as optimistic as Carter's was pessimistic. Two years later, on July 15, 1979, Carter would deliver a stern warning to the nation that it was experiencing a "crisis of confidence." Photo by Marion S.
But alas, Americans were no more in the mood to be lectured about driving 55 or cutting down on unnecessary trips than they are today. We put the day's news in context, tapping our knowledge to highlight trends and connect dots.
The nation was battling an energy crisis, with cars lined up at gas pumps, though oil prices, at around $50 a barrel in today’s inflation-adjusted dollars, were significantly lower than the close to $90 a barrel they are now. You see a Congress twisted and pulled in every direction by hundreds of well-financed and powerful special interests. Bush in October 2008 (25 percent), Richard Nixon at the height of Watergate (24 percent) or Harry Truman in his final year (22 percent). Going beyond the erosion of confidence “threatening to destroy the social and the political fabric of America,” Carter proposed concrete steps on energy, such as limiting oil imports to 1977 levels. But he lost that bounce when he told his cabinet: “My government is not leading the country.
But those parallels are bound to be short-sighted, circumstances of every presidency being unique to that presidency, and unexpected twists (the Iranian revolution, the Afghan invasion) being the norm of history.
Monday they saw a more determined and more specific Carter than theys aw Sunday, as he filled in some blanks that had been left in his prime-time speech.
The first three quarters of it was a disquisition of what ails the nation, and it contained a good deal of good sense. And, we believe, to its profit… Sober second thoughts about the requirements of presidential leadership have been well worthwhile. Louis Post-Dispatch: “The postponed address by President Carter for which the public had waited for 10 days was a remarkable effort.
Exactly 3 years ago, on July 15, 1976, I accepted the nomination of my party to run for President of the United States.
But over those years the subjects of the speeches, the talks, and the press conferences have become increasingly narrow, focused more and more on what the isolated world of Washington thinks is important. For the fifth time I would have described the urgency of the problem and laid out a series of legislative recommendations to the Congress. For the first time in the history of our country a majority of our people believe that the next 5 years will be worse than the past 5 years. This is not a message of happiness or reassurance, but it is the truth and it is a warning. They’ve come upon us gradually over the last generation, years that were filled with shocks and tragedy. We were taught that our armies were always invincible and our causes were always just, only to suffer the agony of Vietnam. We believed that our Nation’s resources were limitless until 1973, when we had to face a growing dependence on foreign oil. We simply must have faith in each other, faith in our ability to govern ourselves, and faith in the future of this Nation. We are the generation that dedicated our society to the pursuit of human rights and equality. On the battlefield of energy we can win for our Nation a new confidence, and we can seize control again of our common destiny. Our excessive dependence on OPEC has already taken a tremendous toll on our economy and our people. Beginning this moment, this Nation will never use more foreign oil than we did in 1977пїЅnever.
I’m announcing tonight that for 1979 and 1980, I will forbid the entry into this country of one drop of foreign oil more than these goals allow.
The corporation will issue up to $5 billion in energy bonds, and I especially want them to be in small denominations so that average Americans can invest directly in America’s energy security. Moreover, I will soon submit legislation to Congress calling for the creation of this Nation’s first solar bank, which will help us achieve the crucial goal of 20 percent of our energy coming from solar power by the year 2000. This effort will permit you to build conservation into your homes and your lives at a cost you can afford. To further conserve energy, I’m proposing tonight an extra $10 billion over the next decade to strengthen our public transportation systems. It can rekindle our sense of unity, our confidence in the future, and give our Nation and all of us individually a new sense of purpose.
I do not promise a quick way out of our Nation’s problems, when the truth is that the only way out is an all-out effort. Just as the search for solutions to our energy shortages has now led us to a new awareness of our Nation’s deeper problems, so our willingness to work for those solutions in energy can strengthen us to attack those deeper problems. In the days to come, let us renew that strength in the struggle for an energy secure nation. Recognized by many as the worst President in the history of our country perhaps Obama could gain great knowledge from the bottom of the barrel, where he doesn’t need much help attaining and replacing Carter.
The OPEC oil producers' cartel had recently announced another in a series of oil price increases that sent gasoline prices skyrocketing and led to severe shortages. Dozens of prominent Americans -- members of Congress, governors, labor leaders, academics and clergy -- were summoned to the mountaintop retreat to confer with the beleaguered president.
After sharing some of the criticism he had heard at Camp David -- including an unattributed quote from the young governor of Arkansas, Bill Clinton -- Carter put his own spin on Caddell's argument. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does but by what one owns." Hendrik Hertzberg, who worked on the speech, admits that it "was more like a sermon than a political speech. On July 17, he asked his entire cabinet for their resignations, ultimately accepting those of five who had clashed with the White House the most, including Energy Secretary James Schlesinger and Health, Education and Welfare chief Joseph Califano. Every four years thereafter, the Republicans' traditional refrain equated Democratic leadership with the notion that America was in decline and needed to reign in its famous appetites.
Bush confessed in 2006 that "we are addicted to oil" even as he presided over policies that enabled the addiction.
The country had not gotten over the “agony of Vietnam” or the “shock of Watergate,” as Carter put it (as opposed to the indifference toward Iraq and Afghanistan today). You see every extreme position defended to the last vote, almost to the last breath by one unyielding group or another. The people have lost confidence in me, in the Congress, in themselves, and in this nation.” On July 17, he fired several cabinet members and started over.

On balance, we think Carter has faced up to the leadership and energy challenges that threaten the country. I promised you a President who is not isolated from the people, who feels your pain, and who shares your dreams and who draws his strength and his wisdom from you. But as I was preparing to speak, I began to ask myself the same question that I now know has been troubling many of you. And I do not refer to the outward strength of America, a nation that is at peace tonight everywhere in the world, with unmatched economic power and military might. Confidence in the future has supported everything elseпїЅpublic institutions and private enterprise, our own families, and the very Constitution of the United States. But we’ve discovered that owning things and consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning. Restoring that faith and that confidence to America is now the most important task we face. And we are the generation that will win the war on the energy problem and in that process rebuild the unity and confidence of America. One is a path I’ve warned about tonight, the path that leads to fragmentation and self-interest. This is the direct cause of the long lines which have made millions of you spend aggravating hours waiting for gasoline.
From now on, every new addition to our demand for energy will be met from our own production and our own conservation. These quotas will ensure a reduction in imports even below the ambitious levels we set at the recent Tokyo summit. Unlike the billions of dollars that we ship to foreign countries to pay for foreign oil, these funds will be paid by Americans to Americans. In fact, it is the most painless and immediate way of rebuilding our Nation’s strength.
What I do promise you is that I will lead our fight, and I will enforce fairness in our struggle, and I will ensure honesty. He has a 43% favorable rating, and there are 36% of the registered voters who identify themselves as Dems, sounds like it may make for a long campaign year. Two weeks earlier, Carter had successfully concluded the SALT II arms control negotiations with Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev in Vienna, the latest in a series of foreign policy achievements since the dramatic Camp David summit the previous September.
Long gas-pump lines and short tempers started in California and spread eastward, focusing Americans' outrage over a seemingly endless economic decline. Sitting on the floor taking notes, Carter listened to criticism, much of it scathing, of him and his White House.
Many others in the administration chafed when newly-named White House chief of staff Hamilton Jordan circulated a "questionnaire" that read more like a loyalty oath. The fact that Caddell and Carter may have been right, in some sense, was almost beside the point.
And it was battling what Carter described as “a crisis of confidence” in his speech, “a crisis that strikes at the very heart and soul and spirit of our national will.
Whatever momentum he might have built from his reboot was demolished in quick succession by the taking of 63 American hostages in Tehran four months later, a crisis that would immerse his presidency until its very last day (the hostages were released the day of Ronald Reagan’s inauguration, after 444 days in captivity), and by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979. Why have we not been able to get together as a nation to resolve our serious energy problem? So, I want to speak to you first tonight about a subject even more serious than energy or inflation. We can see this crisis in the growing doubt about the meaning of our own lives and in the loss of a unity of purpose for our Nation. We always believed that we were part of a great movement of humanity itself called democracy, involved in the search for freedom, and that belief has always strengthened us in our purpose. We’ve learned that piling up material goods cannot fill the emptiness of lives which have no confidence or purpose. The productivity of American workers is actually dropping, and the willingness of Americans to save for the future has fallen below that of all other people in the Western world. The people are looking for honest answers, not easy answers; clear leadership, not false claims and evasiveness and politics as usual. You often see a balanced and a fair approach that demands sacrifice, a little sacrifice from everyone, abandoned like an orphan without support and without friends.
Down that road lies a mistaken idea of freedom, the right to grasp for ourselves some advantage over others. Every act of energy conservation like this is more than just common senseпїЅI tell you it is an act of patriotism. With God’s help and for the sake of our Nation, it is time for us to join hands in America. With the intellectual powerhouse of Schultz, Pelosi and Reid leading the Dems they have positioned themselves well for failure. Much of that anger was directed at the White House: Carter's approval rating had dropped to 25%, lower than Richard Nixon's during the Watergate scandal. Reagan biographer Steven Hayward has aptly described it as "the most remarkable exercise in presidential navel-gazing in American history." At the end of the "domestic summit," the president planned to deliver a nationally-televised address, telling Americans what he had learned and how he planned to lead them out of the current crisis. He was bringing the American people into this spiritual process that he had been through, and presenting them with an opportunity for redemption as well as redeeming himself." Though he never used the word -- Caddell had in his memo -- it became known as Carter's "malaise" speech.
In May 2011, the country was importing 9 million barrels per day, with Saudi oil in second place, after Canada’s, and accounting for 1.2 million barrels, or 13 percent of the total, and OPEC countries accounting for half of total imports. It also mixed morality with energy, being in some respects a sermon and in others a call to action.
But just as we are losing our confidence in the future, we are also beginning to close the door on our past.
We are the heirs of generations who survived threats much more powerful and awesome than those that challenge us now. That path would be one of constant conflict between narrow interests ending in chaos and immobility. This intolerable dependence on foreign oil threatens our economic independence and the very security of our Nation. It addressed a demonstrable lack of confidence in the President himself as if it were part of a lack of confidence by the people in themselves. Our fathers and mothers were strong men and women who shaped a new society during the Great Depression, who fought world wars, and who carved out a new charter of peace for the world. We have the most skilled work force, with innovative genius, and I firmly believe that we have the national will to win this war.

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